This morning Christy and Sarah slept in until nearly 10:00 (we did come through a time zone change the previous day). We checked out of our hotel and ate at Waffle House, which we’d thought was a stand-alone place, but which turns out to be a chain. Here we experienced our first evidence of southern hospitality: an extremely friendly waitress named Donna chatted us up and tried to fool us with her droll southern humor.
Christy: “So … is this town down the road pronounced ver-SIGH, like the French?”
Josh: “Or is it ver-SELLS, with an English pronunciation?”
Donna (without missing a beat): “Neither one. It’s pronounced ver-SAH-chee.”
Luckily, another customer corrected her before we could really fall for it! Donna was a kick, as was the entire restaurant. The food wasn’t great, but the experience was.
Since we’d come as far south as Shepherdsville anyway, we decided to take a more scenic route back to the interstate. On the way we saw miles and miles of gorgeous horse ranches, and we also passed through the town of Bardstown, which was the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s classic song “My Old Kentucky Home.” And yes, nearly every sign in town made sure we were aware of that factoid!
We had just entered Daniel Boone National Forest when we noticed that the sun was missing. Then we saw the very first raindrop of our entire road trip … and then another and another. Just as we arrived at a planned rest stop, the heavens opened up, and Christy got thoroughly drenched bringing snacks from the car for us to eat indoors. At the rest area, we met a couple who were surprised to hear that it almost never rains this hard in Seattle. Sorry, friends: we told them they should come to Seattle in the summertime. I know that’s supposed to be a well-kept secret.
Now, it was cooler today—only about 85-90 degrees—but the rain felt very tropical, like our experiences of rain in El Salvador. The rain didn’t last, though, and before long we were in West Virginia. This was probably the shortest day of driving for the entire trip—less than four hours.
In Charleston, we got settled in our hotel with what we call, in our house, a “movie nap”: Sarah got to watch a movie while we took a nap! We happened to have the third-rate Disney movie Hercules with us from Netflix, so Sarah got to enjoy it and we didn’t mind missing it. Afterward we walked across the parking lot to a cheap pizza place for dinner. And that’s really about it for the day.
You only get one picture today, a view of the nearby bridge from our hotel. It hadn’t occurred to us until the end of the day that we’d forgotten to take any pictures. I guess we’re really ready to be done with this trip, as wonderful as it has been.
Ahead of us, tomorrow, lies the real puzzle. Should we take the southern route through the Appalachians? Or should we cut north through Maryland and skirt the mountains? Our GPS recommends the southern route (as did the nice people at the rest stop). But our advance research suggested the northern route, while longer, might go faster because it avoids the mountains. Does anyone out there have additional wisdom to offer us?